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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Exposed: charity pest targets councils with fake applications

This news post is almost 7 years old

Evidence emerges prolific charity pest is now targeting councils

Scotland’s most notorious job applicant has spread his net wider – this time targeting local authorities.

Gerry Freedman, who TFNfirst exposed back in February for targeting hundreds of charities across the UK with fake job applications, turned his attention to local councils in a bid to gain free accommodation, travel and expenses.

TFN understands Freedman has applied for council jobs he isn’t qualified for using his usual tactic of citing fake disability legislation and threatening legal action if refused an interview.

Freedman's most bizarre demands

Four cans of “chilled” Pepsi Max

Designer suit

“Specialist” shoes

Tuna Sandwiches (with crisps)

Business class air fares for two

First class open return rail fares

A “relaxation room”

A full English breakfast

New £700 laptop

Cosla, the body which represents Scotland’s 32 local councils, has discussed Freedman in official meetings and has encouraged members to contact police.

The serial pest is known to at least four councils in Scotland, with one saying it has barred all further correspondence with him because of his “aggressive and threatening” behaviour.

Many unwitting organisations have bowed to his outrageous demands fearing negative publicity or protracted and costly legal action.

As well as voluntary groups, TFN's investigation uncovered evidence that he has tried it on with universities.

A Welsh charity paid Freedman a four figure out-of-court settlement after he went to the conciliation service Acas complaining he was being discriminated against for being disabled.

A spokesman for one local authority, who requested to remain anonymous, said: “He uses the exact tactic he’s used on charities. It seems he applies for posts en-masse.

"We had several identical applications for numerous jobs. He hadn’t even bothered to adapt his application; instead they were full of threats, rants and anger, basically. Needless to say he didn’t get an interview.”

Police Scotland has interviewed Freedman after receiving dozens of complaints but so far charges haven’t been brought.

Among the most recent of Freedman’s outlandish demands is that he must have first or business class air fares and access to exclusive airport lounges.

In one application he stated: “You are required by law to meet all of these reasonable adjustments. If you do not you are committing a crime.”

At least four charities have told TFN they invited Freedman to interview in an attempt to stop his constant harassment - only for him not to appear.

Jason Forsyth, a lawyer and charity board member with a Manchester charity, challenged Freedman after he applied for a post at board level.

“His tactic is to take the money and run,” he said. “I’m quite sure he’s been striking it lucky occasionally and this spurs him on.

“My advice to all organisations is his application should be instantly rejected. You won’t be taken to task. The problem is he has been getting away with it so it is up to us all to stop him.”



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Ali Kerr
almost 7 years ago
Whilst it was important that we knew of this person's behaviour earlier in the year, TFN's persistent reporting now feels uncomfortably sensationalist. It seems very likely that this individual has unstable mental health and, as a sector which works in this specific area, perhaps we need to avoid targeting individuals.
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Joe Sugg
almost 7 years ago
I think that it is important to highlight what this person is doing as a warning to others not to be taken in by it. I have little sympathy for him as he has been exposed and spoken to by the police and yet still continues on this path. Whilst is mental health is no doubt in question it is by no means an excuse.
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almost 7 years ago
Starting to feel like a personal attack. His behaviour is bad; but is this official quotes from Cosla - the rest merely repeats the story given so far. Why have no charges been brought? If there is no criminal charge, this article may yet be pulled.
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